Pentagon Concerns About ‘Optics’ Delayed National Guard Resposne to Capitol Riot

The head of the National Guard for Washington, D.C., says Pentagon concerns about “optics” delayed the sending of troops to protect the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack.

Maj. Gen. William Walker also noted under Senate questioning Wednesday there were no such concerns expressed when the D.C. National Guard was called out in response to the civil justice demonstrations in the spring and summer of 2020.

Walker testified there was an “unusual” Pentagon memo on Jan. 5 that required him to seek advance authorization from the secretary of the Army and the secretary of defense for specific measures during the gathering of thousands of Trump supporters seeking to force Congress to overturn the November presidential election.

The memo required Walker to seek personal authorization from the secretary of defense for equipment including weapons and body armor. Walker says the secretary of the Army separately authorized the use of protective equipment for the troops.

Walker says D.C. officials pleaded with the Army officials to quickly send the National Guard to help police guard the Capitol. But Walker says senior Army leaders opposed sending uniformed troops to the Capitol. He says, “The Army senior leaders did not think that it looked good.”

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